Sen. Tim Scott calls his girlfriend a 'lovely Christian girl' at Iowa campaign stop

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Republican presidential candidate and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott talked about his girlfriend at an Iowa campaign stop, reflecting on his upbringing and his faith as he addressed his relationship.

Scott attended the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual fall banquet in Des Moines on Saturday, typically a can’t-miss event for GOP White House hopefuls. At the event, Scott spoke to Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird about COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other policies, but she also asked if there was a “special lady” in his life, other than his mother.

"Yes," Scott, the only unmarried Republican presidential candidate, told Bird, calling his girlfriend "a lovely Christian girl” before joking to the crowd at the event “Can we just pray together for me?”

But the South Carolina lawmaker added “As a guy who was raised in a single-parent household mired in poverty, I understand the devastation when a family breaks up. I had to live with the consequences of a father who was not there. I made a commitment to make sure that never happened in my life.

“I’m so thankful to know a risen savior that has helped guide my way, and I’m so thankful that he’s allowed my life to intersect at the right time with the right person. And I just say, praise the living God,” he said.

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The question came after Scott confirmed he was dating his girlfriend, who has not been publicly identified, to The Washington Post. He called speculation about his relationship from other campaigns a way to "sow seeds of doubt” about his presidential bid.

“To say that, ‘That guy isn’t one of us,” Scott told The Post.

“It’s like a different form of discrimination or bias,” Scott said. “You can’t say I’m Black, because that would be terrible, so find something else that you can attack.”

Scott has made his faith a cornerstone not only of his presidential campaign but also of his entire political career.

"I see myself first as a biblical leader and not as a Republican or conservative leader," Scott said during a 2020 video conference with students at Bob Jones University.

"I am first a Christian," he added. "And it is the thing I have chosen to be above all other things."

Contributing: Phillip Bailey, USA TODAY; The Des Moines Register; Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Who is Tim Scott dating? Senator jokes about girlfriend at Iowa event